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Ylzm Apr 17
A nation is not of land nor borders, nor people
Israel dispersed and vanished, Jews remain
Mongols destroyed, yet the land is Ishmael's
Once there were seventy nations, today only one
Ylzm Apr 3
Today is the third Day
Even as everyday is Sabbath
When the Son rose, the world
received the promised Ghost

      First of firstfruit blessed
         day after the Seven
         when it was still dark
      And the kingdom came
         day after Seven Sevens
         yet hidden to this day

For a week, Israel wandered
For a week, bread is unleavened
Evening of the Seventh approaches, fast
But time shall divide, till not one is lost
Michael R Burch Oct 2020
Mahmoud Darwish: English Translations

Mahmoud Darwish is the essential breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging ... his is an utterly necessary voice, unforgettable once discovered.―Naomi Shihab Nye



Palestine
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
April's blushing advances,
the aroma of bread warming at dawn,
a woman haranguing men,
the poetry of Aeschylus,
love's trembling beginnings,
a boulder covered with moss,
mothers who dance to the flute's sighs,
and the invaders' fear of memories.

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
September's rustling end,
a woman leaving forty behind, still full of grace, still blossoming,
an hour of sunlight in prison,
clouds taking the shapes of unusual creatures,
the people's applause for those who mock their assassins,
and the tyrant's fear of songs.

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
Lady Earth, mother of all beginnings and endings!
In the past she was called Palestine
and tomorrow she will still be called Palestine.
My Lady, because you are my Lady, I deserve life!



Identity Card
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Record!
I am an Arab!
And my identity card is number fifty thousand.
I have eight children;
the ninth arrives this autumn.
Will you be furious?

Record!
I am an Arab!
Employed at the quarry,
I have eight children.
I provide them with bread,
clothes and books
from the bare rocks.
I do not supplicate charity at your gates,
nor do I demean myself at your chambers' doors.
Will you be furious?

Record!
I am an Arab!
I have a name without a title.
I am patient in a country
where people are easily enraged.
My roots
were established long before the onset of time,
before the unfolding of the flora and fauna,
before the pines and the olive trees,
before the first grass grew.
My father descended from plowmen,
not from the privileged classes.
My grandfather was a lowly farmer
neither well-bred, nor well-born!
Still, they taught me the pride of the sun
before teaching me how to read;
now my house is a watchman's hut
made of branches and cane.
Are you satisfied with my status?
I have a name, but no title!

Record!
I am an Arab!
You have stolen my ancestors' orchards
and the land I cultivated
along with my children.
You left us nothing
but these bare rocks.
Now will the State claim them
as it has been declared?

Therefore!
Record on the first page:
I do not hate people
nor do I encroach,
but if I become hungry
I will feast on the usurper's flesh!
Beware!
Beware my hunger
and my anger!

NOTE: Darwish was married twice, but had no children. In the poem above, he is apparently speaking for his people, not for himself personally.



Excerpt from “Speech of the Red Indian”
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let's give the earth sufficient time to recite
the whole truth ...
The whole truth about us.
The whole truth about you.

In tombs you build
the dead lie sleeping.
Over bridges you *****
file the newly slain.

There are spirits who light up the night like fireflies.
There are spirits who come at dawn to sip tea with you,
as peaceful as the day your guns mowed them down.

O, you who are guests in our land,
please leave a few chairs empty
for your hosts to sit and ponder
the conditions for peace
in your treaty with the dead.



Passport
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

They left me unrecognizable in the shadows
that bled all colors from this passport.
To them, my wounds were novelties―
curious photos for tourists to collect.
They failed to recognize me. No, don't leave
the palm of my hand bereft of sun
when all the trees recognize me
and every song of the rain honors me.
Don't set a wan moon over me!

All the birds that flocked to my welcoming wave
as far as the distant airport gates,
all the wheatfields,
all the prisons,
all the albescent tombstones,
all the barbwired boundaries,
all the fluttering handkerchiefs,
all the eyes―
they all accompanied me.
But they were stricken from my passport
shredding my identity!

How was I stripped of my name and identity
on soil I tended with my own hands?
Today, Job's lamentations
re-filled the heavens:
Don't make an example of me, not again!
Prophets! Gentlemen!―
Don't require the trees to name themselves!
Don't ask the valleys who mothered them!
My forehead glistens with lancing light.
From my hand the riverwater springs.
My identity can be found in my people's hearts,
so invalidate this passport!

Keywords/Tags: Mahmoud Darwish, Palestine, Palestinian, Arab, Arabic, translation, Gaza, Israel, children, mothers, injustice, violence, war, race, racism, intolerance, ethnic cleansing, genocide
Ylzm Apr 2020
In the beginning God parted the waters,
     separating heaven and earth
Abraham parted the pieces,
     and a smoking fiery *** passed in between
Israel walked between the waters,
     covered in smoke and fire
So Israel parted in two:
     one remains and the other lost.
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Ninety-Three Daughters of Israel
a Holocaust poem by Chaya Feldman
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We washed our bodies
and cleansed ourselves;
we purified our souls
and became clean.

Death does not terrify us;
we are ready to confront him.

While alive we served God
and now we can best serve our people
by refusing to be taken prisoner.

We have made a covenant of the heart,
all ninety-three of us;
together we lived and learned,
and now together we choose to depart.

The hour is upon us
as I write these words;
there is barely enough time to transcribe this prayer ...

Brethren, wherever you may be,
honor the Torah we lived by
and the Psalms we loved.

Read them for us, as well as for yourselves,
and someday when the Beast
has devoured his last prey,
we hope someone will say Kaddish for us:
we ninety-three daughters of Israel.

Amen

In 1943 Meir Shenkolevsky, the secretary of the world Bais Yaakov movement and a member of the Central Committee of Agudas Israel in New York, received a letter from Chaya Feldman: "I don't know when you will get this letter and if you still will remember me. When this letter arrives, I will no longer be alive. In a few hours, everything will be past. We are here in four rooms, 93 girls ages 14 to 22, all of us Bais Yaakov teachers. On July 27, Gestapo agents came, took us out of our apartment and threw us into a dark room. We only have water to drink. The younger girls are very frightened, but I comfort them that in a short while, we will be together with our mother Sara [Sara Shnirer, the founder of the Bais Yaakov Seminary]. Yesterday they took us out, washed us and took all our clothes. They left us only shirts and said that today, German soldiers will come to visit us. We all swore to ourselves that we will die together. The Germans don't know that the bath they gave us was the immersion before our deaths: we all prepared poison. When the soldiers come, we will drink the poison. We are all saying Viduy throughout the day. We are not afraid of anything. We only have one request from you: Say Kaddish for 93 bnos Yisroel! Soon we will be with our mother Sara. Signed, Chaya Feldman from Cracow." Keywords/Tags: Holocaust, poem, Chaya Feldman, daughters, Israel, washed, cleansed, pure, purified, immaculate, 93, ninety-three, death, God, prayer, heart, covenant, Torah, Psalms, Kaddish
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
After My Death
by Chaim Nachman Bialik
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Say this when you eulogize me:
Here was a man — now, ****, he's gone!
He died before his time.
The music of his life suddenly ground to a halt...
Such a pity! There was another song in him, somewhere,
but now it's been lost,
forever.
What a pity! He had a violin,
a living, eloquent soul
to which he uttered
the secrets of his heart,
setting its strings vibrating,
save the one he kept inviolate.
Back and forth his supple fingers twirled;
one string alone remained mesmerized,
yet unheard.
Such a pity!
All his life the string quivered,
quavering silently,
yearning for its song, its mate,
as a heart falters before its departure.
Despite constant delays it waited daily,
mutely beseeching its savior, Love,
who lingered, loitered, tarried incessantly
and never came.
Great was the pain!
There was a man — now, ****, he's gone!
The music of his life was suddenly interrupted.
There was another song in him, somewhere,
but now it is lost
forever.

Chaim Nachman Bialik (1873-1934), first name also Hayim or Haim, was a Jewish Holocaust poet who wrote in Hebrew. Bialik was one of the pioneers of modern Hebrew poetry; he came to be recognized as Israel's national poet and the foremost modern Hebrew poet.

Keywords/Tags: Chaim Nachman Bialik, Hebrew, translation, Israel, life, music, violin, song, string, strings, heart, mate, love, pain, lost, forever
Ylzm Mar 2020
The faithless believe in belief
The idolatry of his will to believe
Preyed upon by Balaam the prophet
Anointed but evil, speaks truth but lies
Promised escape when Tribulation comes
For a fake ticket, the faithless sold his soul

Does a soldier flee when war arrives?
Was not war the call he obeyed?
When sun’s hidden and moon’s fallen
Light shines most bright on darkened Earth
The Covenant is not of bread alone
But surely all shall drink the Cup too

Israel was embittered against Moses
They’re yet slaves, and their burden heavier
Pharaoh hardened, proud and defiant
Egypt ravaged by plagues and ruined
Israel ate unleavened bread and bitter herbs
Unseen, the Angel of Death passed over
Mohammed Arafat Feb 2020
She is supposed to get to live to enjoy life
Her birth is in war
with no baby clothing available
but a blanket and a pillow

Her mother screams
higher than loud booms around
higher than the voices of politicians
It hurts to give birth during wars

She is in a tent
donated by good people
who don’t believe in war
but in love

Her little world is a war
The skies are dark and grey
and a lot stands in her way
not only this war

She joins her mother’s cries
wrapped with the grey blanket
Cries of rockets heard as well
emigrants from other tents cry too

Fear breaks into her tent
Smoke coming out of the tent
mixed with cries, screams, and wails
The tent shakes
The tent collapses

Her mattress is rubbles
Her blanket is ash
Her cries gone in vain
Just like humanity
Silence!
Many babies don't expect to come to this life to start it in war, but they do.
Ylzm Jan 2020
Israel foreshadowed in Egypt
Untouched by the Plaques
Passed over by the Destroyer
Egypt broken and bowed
With strangers, Israel walked free
Handsomely ransomed, a nation is born
So shall Israel again be in the Tribulation
As light for sight and salt to taste
And again with strangers
In haste and with bitterness
Come out of the World
Raptured as the First born of God
Blind Eye Jan 2020
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